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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for December 13, 2012. Posted: 13 Dec 2012 12:28:52
ARB Newsclips for December 13, 2012. This is a service of the California Air Resources Board’s Office of Communications. You may need to sign in or register with individual websites to view some of the following news articles. AIR POLLUTION EPA finds contamination at former rocket test site. Lingering radioactive contamination exists at a former rocket test lab outside of Los Angeles that was the site of a partial nuclear meltdown, federal environmental regulators said Wednesday. The Environmental Protection Agency launched a $42 million study to investigate radioactive pollution at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, 25 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/dec/12/epa-finds-contamination-at-former-rocket-test/#ixzz2ExBxJLp3 Study: Pa. wood-burning boilers a threat to health. A state program intended to promote renewable energy may instead be releasing high levels of pollutants, according to a report released Wednesday. The report, funded by the Heinz Endowment, says more than $70 million in state and federal grants and loans for renewable energy have largely gone to commercial and institutional biomass burners in Pennsylvania, which burn different types of wood products and employ minimal emissions controls. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/dec/12/study-pa-wood-burning-boilers-a-threat-to-health/#ixzz2ExDoFgrH Area group wants more air pollution warnings. A local air quality coalition asked Kings County supervisors Tuesday to support a push for more emergency air alerts on high pollution days. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District only issues the emergency alerts for blowing dust or smoke or if the district is about to exceed federal limits on ozone. Instead, the group calling itself Stand For Clean Air in the San Joaquin Valley wants emergency warnings to be issued via email every day the air quality …Posted. http://www.hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/area-group-wants-more-air-pollution-warnings/article_4984ed78-449e-11e2-ad42-0019bb2963f4.html CLIMATE CHANGE Do Now #53: Cap-and-Trade for Carbon? California recently implemented a cap-and-trade program in order to cut carbon emissions. Would a carbon tax be better or worse? What do you think about cap-and-trade? How can companies be best regulated to reduce greenhouse gas pollution? Since the Industrial Revolution, there has been a substantial increase in carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. and countries around the world. The increase is due to human activities, namely the burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation, industry processes and land-use changes. Posted. http://education.kqed.org/edspace/2012/12/11/do-now-53-cap-and-trade-for-carbon/ DIESEL EMISSIONS FUELS Environmentalists sue California, spark fracking feud. California doesn't regulate this new method of oil and gas exploration, so activists sued. It might lack the big hair and cowboy hats of Dallas, but the latest dustup between California’s oilmen and environmentalists is certainly dramatic. In October, a group of activists sued the state’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources over fracking, the controversial type of oil and gas exploration that involves blasting water, sand and chemicals deep into the ground. Posted. http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/environmentalists-sue-california-spark-fracking/content?oid=8569216 VEHICLES Coolant safety row puts the heat on Europe's carmakers. When engineers at Mercedes-Benz tasked with field-testing a revolutionary new refrigerant watched it ignite in a ball of fire before their eyes, it took a while for the significance of their discovery to sink in. Simulating a leak in the air-conditioning line of a Mercedes B-Class tourer, they had released a fine mixture of refrigerant and A/C compressor oil, which sprayed across the car's turbo-charged 1.6 litre engine. The substance caught fire as soon as it hit the hot surface, releasing a toxic, corrosive gas as it burned. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/12/uk-europe-cars-refrigerant-idUSLNE8BB01720121212 Mazda Leads Diesel Comeback as Dirty-Clunker Stigma Fades. Thirteen years after Tokyo’s governor killed Japanese interest in diesel cars by barring many of them from his city, the technology is making a comeback as manufacturers adopt innovations that improve its sooty image. Mazda Motor Corp. (7261) is betting big on cleaner diesels, creating a challenge to imports and hybrids as government incentives spur demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-11/mazda-leads-diesel-comeback-as-dirty-clunker-stigma-fades.html HIGH-SPEED RAIL High Speed Rail Moving Ahead Despite Criticisms. Republican Congressman Jeff Denham says California's $68-billion high speed rail system is looking for too much money from the federal government to help keep it on track. DENHAM: "We have no ability to come up with those funds, and that would be pulling money from other areas if we did." But Authority CEO Jeff Morales says right now the project has enough funding to build the first 130 miles of the system through the Central Valley. Posted. http://www.capradio.org/articles/2012/12/12/high-speed-rail-moving-ahead-despite-criticisms Landowners air concerns about high-speed rail. About 100 property owners packed an open house Wednesday to learn how their farms, homes or businesses could be affected by California's proposed high-speed train system. But rain throughout the day derailed a planned tractor rally and protest by farmers outside the Madera Community College Center, where the state High-Speed Rail Authority held its outreach meeting. What organizers hoped would be a dramatic show of four or five dozen tractors turned into a trickle of four or five. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/12/12/3099779/landowners-air-high-speed-rail.html GREEN ENERGY Lawmakers to push tax code change for renewable energy in 2013. A group of U.S. lawmakers said on Wednesday that they plan to push ahead in the new year to change the tax code so renewable energy projects could qualify for beneficial tax structures commonly used by pipelines and other energy-related companies. Democratic and Republican sponsors of proposed legislation said they think momentum is growing for their idea to allow wind, solar, biofuel and other renewable projects to structure as "master limited partnerships" (MLPs). Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/13/us-usa-tax-energy-idUSBRE8BB1V320121213 MISCELLANEOUS Bike Nation USA Bringing Bike Sharing To Downtown L.A. Hundreds of rental bikes will be deployed in early 2013 to the streets of Downtown Los Angeles. Bike Nation USA, a company based in Tustin, announced plans in April to place 175 bike rental stations in an area that will stretch from Union Station to Exposition Park. Derek Fretheim, the Chief Operating Officer of Bike Nation USA, said a launch date isn't set, but that it will be soon. “We’re going to have a beta launch in the first part of 2013," he said. Posted. http://www.neontommy.com/news/2012/12/bike-nation-usa-readies-downtown-los-angeles-bike-share-launch Whole Foods shuts down Del Monte Center recycling station; city cries foul. The recycling buyback station behind the Whole Foods in Monterey’s Del Monte Center is gone, to the delight of mall execs and dismay of city staff. Before the closure, people could weigh their recyclables at the station and collect the California Redemption Value. But in early November, Whole Foods closed the station with support from mall managers who viewed it as a magnet for the homeless. Posted. http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/news/2012/dec/13/buyback-blowup/ Election over, administration unleashes new rules. In recent weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed rules to update water quality guidelines for beaches and other recreational waters and deal with runoff from logging roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, meanwhile, has proposed long-delayed regulations requiring auto makers to include event data recorders - better known as "black boxes" - in all new cars and light trucks beginning in 2014. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/dec/13/election-over-administration-unleashes-new-rules/#ixzz2ExCjDhT0 OPINIONS The Farming Forecast Calls for Change. WEATHER and agriculture have always been intertwined in most every part of the world. No matter which continent, farmers have always been at the mercy of rainfall and temperature. Thus it is curious that most of the conversation surrounding climate change — how the weather has been modified by industrial activity — revolves around reducing emissions (climate “mitigation”) and not on how to modify agriculture to new weather conditions. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/13/opinion/global/the-farming-forecast-calls-for-change.html?_r=0 Solar Panels for Every Home. WE don’t think much about pitch pine poles until storms like Hurricane Sandy litter our landscape with their splintered corpses and arcing power lines. Crews from as far away as California and Quebec have worked feverishly to repair or replace those poles as utility companies rebuild their distribution systems the way they were before. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/13/opinion/solar-panels-for-every-home.html Blind faith of climate change deniers endangers us all. This week’s Newsweek magazine features a couple of essays -- one about Jesus and one about climate change -- that demonstrate the difference between simple faith in the unknowable and blind faith that denies scientific fact. An article by Bart D. Ehrman, professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, discusses things that people believe about the birth of Christ that are actually not in the Bible. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-blind-faith-20121213,0,4041383.story Why California should invest in the electric bus. California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) cutting goals from the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) loom large as our state begins a cap-and-trade market on Jan. 1, 2013. The program will reduce emissions from the utility, industrial, and transportation sectors, which cause 85 percent of the state’s total CO2 emissions. Yet the policies in place are too modest, and California should update and electrify public transit. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/perspective/why-california-should-invest-in-the-electric-bus/article_f35458b2-4cba-52af-8aa3-67a729c7dd8a.html BLOGS Mercedes-Benz Offers E-Class Sneak Preview. The major step forward in the engine compartment will take the form of a new diesel engine, coming next fall, which could improve fuel efficiency to something in the 40-plus miles-per-gallon range. This turbocharged 2.1-liter, four-cylinder model, designated as the E250 BlueTEC, will produce 190 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The vehicle will also come equipped with 4-Matic all-wheel-drive. The rear-wheel-drive, V-6 powered E350 BlueTEC is being dropped. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/13/mercedes-benz-offers-e-class-sneak-preview/ Good News in the Fight Against Bad Air. "Today is a bad air day." You may have heard this warning on drive-time radio, especially on muggy summer days. On "orange" days, the air is too thick with pollution for infants, seniors, and people with breathing difficulties, who are warned they should stay indoors. Those people may miss work, school, and other important activities. "Red" days are unhealthy for everyone. Even those in good health are urged to avoid strenuous activities and time outdoors on these bad air days. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-sheldon-whitehouse/good-news-in-the-fight-ag_b_2293770.html Photo Essay: Postcards From the Second Most Air Polluted City in the World. It's coming on winter, and Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, is making its annual transformation into the second most air polluted city in the world. According to a comprehensive study on urban air quality conducted by the World Health Organization, Ulaanbaatar follows closely behind the world's most polluted city, Ahwaz, Iran. Ulaanbaatar houses a third of the country's total population of 3.1 million people, and the habits of these overcrowded residents are seriously damaging the air. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nina-wegner/ulaanbaatar-air-pollution_b_2245035.html 15 Burning Questions (and Answers) for Biofuels in 2013. Policy, finance, technology, feedstocks, markets, prices, opposition. Here’s what’s on your mind, as the critical 2013 deployment year for biofuels looms. Great topic suggestions from Digest readers have been pouring into my inbox all week — for the private, pre-ABLC briefing that we are prepping for DC this April. Posted. http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2012/12/13/15-burning-questions-and-answers-for-biofuels-in-2013/